This is going to be a fun division to watch during the 2018 NFL season. The division can go any which way and it will be a battle all season long.
The Jacksonville Jaguars will look to repeat as division champs, a trend that has been going on since 2009 in the AFC South. The Tennessee Titans will look to build on a playoff win from a season ago. The Houston Texans and Indianapolis Colts are both welcome back injured quarterbacks in Deshaun Watson (Texans) and Andrew Luck (Colts) and both team’s playoff hopes will rely heavily on those two signal callers.
This defense is stacked from top to bottom and even have the nickname of “Sacksonville.” This is a hungry group ready to take the next step towards a Super Bowl. Jalen Ramsey has been awfully chatty during the offseason, calling out various players, and certainly doesn’t lack confidence, which isn’t a bad thing for a player of his caliber. Blake Bortles is not seen as an elite NFL quarterback, but he did what he had to last season to help this team reach the AFC Championship game. He passed for 3,687 yards, 21 touchdowns and 13 interceptions. If he can have a similar season or better, the sky is the limit for this team.
Despite making the playoffs last year and winning in the wild card round, the Titans will open up the 2018 campaign with a rookie head coach in Mike Vrabel. Quarterback Marcus Mariota had a subpar season a year ago, yet still led his team to a playoff victory. If this team wants to knock of Jacksonville, Mariota will have to take the next step in his game. The additions of running back Dion Lewis and corner back Malcolm Butler (both came over from New England) will surely help this team out. Lewis gives the offense a new dynamic and Butler is regarded as one of the best corners in the game, despite not playing a single snap in the Super Bowl last year.
The Texans were rocking and rolling last season after then rookie quarterback Watson took the league by storm. In his first six career games, he had thrown for 1,699 yards, 19 touchdowns and just eight interceptions. Then he tore his ACL and was lost for the season. Players have shown that the new medicine and technology can be beneficial to these types of injuries and Houston is hoping Watson can get back to his pre-injury playing. The duo of Watson and DeAndre Hopkins can be one of the most lethal in the NFL. J.J. Watt will look to stay healthy and anchor this vaunted defense. The addition of Tyrann Mathieu will also be key, if he can stay healthy.
Andrew Luck will be under center for the Colts for the first time since January of 2016. Indy has been lackluster for lack of a better word, when Luck has been sidelined. This team will go as far as the health of Luck will allow it. Even if he has no setbacks during the season, it is hard to believe he can return to his Pro-Bowl self after not playing for the last year and a half. If he is able to return to that form, this team will benefit greatly. It might not be until next year this team contends for the division.
The Jags aren’t only primed to win the division for a second consecutive year, but also are a legitimate Super Bowl contender. That defense is no joke and that will lead them to back-to-back AFC South Champs. Second place and potentially a playoff berth is really a toss-up between the Titans and Texans. Both teams will be in the playoff hunt all season long. The Colts still have a long way to go, even if Luck comes back and is playing good football.